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MDMA cut: Synthetic Cathinones “Bath salts”

Where do synthetic cathinones comes from?

Cathinone is a psychoactive compound that comes from the Khat Plant, native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Synthetic cathinones are much stronger and dangerous than the natural compound found in the leaves of Khat.

They are ofter referred as “bath salts”, due to being originally marketed as such to avoid regulatory controls.

Synthetic cathinones and MDMA

Synthetic cathinones have been called the “natural amphetamine”, due to sharing similar chemical structures and behavioral effects. Because of this, synthetic cathinones have been claimed to be a safer option to other popular stimulants, like MDMA and cocaine, but this is false.

What have I been taking all this time?

Kalasinsky et al analyzed hair samples of self-reported MDMA takers, to verify if what they’ve been taking is actually MDMA.

Their results showed the presence of various synthetic cathinones in almost 30% of hair samples from club/festival goers who thought they had taken MDMA only. In some hair samples, there was no MDMA at all.

Bath salts make an “excellent” cut for MDMA, they are cheaper to manufacture and they provide similar cognitive and behavioral effects.

Most common synthetic cathinones found in MDMA / sold as MDMA*:

  1. Ethylone
  2.  MDPV (monkey dust)
  3. Mephedrone (4-MMC)
  4. Methylone (bk-MDMA)
  5. Butylone

Why are synthetic cathinones dangerous?

The risks associated with synthetic cathonines are similar to those associated to amphetamines and cocaine. However, as with other substances, what enhances their risks is taking it unknowingly.

Research has suggested that synthetic cathinones have a reduced potential for neurotoxicity (compared to MDMA or Meth), however, they may present a greater threat of overdose.

Why could synthetic cathinones have a greater risk of overdose?

There are many synthetic cathinones available, and new versions are being found in different substances. This leads to a lack of research and misinformation.

Here is one example: MDPV

MDPV, a common synthetic cathinones, interacts with the brain in a similar to cocaine. However, MDPV is 10 times stronger. MDPV is the most common synthetic cathinone found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments after taking bath salts.

Main risks of synthetic cathinones

In short, their main risks are based on the fact that most people don’t take bath salts deliberately. Increasing the risk of:

  1. Unexpected stronger doses
  2. Unexpected effects due to the combination of different substances

In extremely rare cases, bath salts can lead to a condition called excited delirium: A state of extreme agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death. It usually involves: taking combination of drugs, driving under the influence and pre-existing mental health conditions.

Tips to help stay safe

  1. Don’t take any substance unintentionally.
  2. Know your dosage.
  3. Know the risk.
  4. Test your drugs. The Marquis test is good for differentiating cathinones from MDMA.

MDMA Test Kits »

*Most commonly, but not exclusively an MDMA cut. Cathinones can also be found in cocaine and meth.

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MDMA (Molly) Dosage

Oral dosage range is from 30 mg to 200 mg.

Oral Doses: (for pure or uncut MDMA)

  • Minimum amount for effect (threshold): 30 mg
  • Light dose: 40-75 mg
  • Common dose for sensitive people: 60 -90 mg
  • Average dose: 75 – 125 mg
  • Common dose for less sensitive people: 110 – 150 mg
  • Strong: 150 – 200 mg
  • Heavy: 200 mg (+)

*Research suggests that women tend to be more sensitive to larger doses than men.

Metabolizing MDMA

The drug is broken down metabolically, mainly in the liver, where an enzyme designated CYP2D6 is chiefly responsible. However, enzymes involved in its breaking down slow down at relatively low concentrations of the drug. If the dose is increased, higher affinity enzymes become saturated, and there is a significant increase in the drug’s concentration in the blood and brain.

If you want to re-dose, wait for at least 2 hours! If you need to re-dose frequently, it means that tolerance is building up and it may be a sign to reduce consumption. MDMA consumption can lead to neurotoxicity.

MDMA Testing

Although you bought MDMA, it’s common to find MDMA mixed with caffeine, Methamphetamine, Amphetamines (speed), DXM, Pseudo/Ephedrine, Ketamine, Benzodiazepines and TFMPP.

For the ultimate guide on MDMA testing, see our how to test MDMA page.

The bottom line is that you should always test your drugs. Otherwise, your dose could include undesirable effects and its potency might be unreliable.

MDMA (Molly) Test Kit – Package »